Living Green: What To Do with Your Dog's Doo
The average dog creates 275 pounds of poop each year. Leaving poop where it falls spreads parasites to other pets and their people. Read on to find out how to dispose of your dog's doo safely and which way is best for the enviroment.The average dog creates 275 pounds of poop each year. Leaving poop where it falls spreads parasites to other pets and their people. Also, rain drains bacteria and nitrogen from dog stools into street run off and city water supplies.
You can safely dispose of dog waste either by treating it or by isolating it. In other words, flush it or trash it.
The big flush
Poop bags that dissolve in water make the flush approach feasible at home. Beware. Few bags are flushable. Biodegradable does not mean flushable. Consider the age and condition of your plumbing before flushing.
For the environment, flushing makes the most sense. Wastewater treatment facilities at the end of the sewer line process and eliminate parasites, bacteria, and nitrogen. Problem solved.
For some dogs, the sidewalks and parks are the proper place for elimination. Responsible dog owners take a bag to clean up. Many parks provide bags in dispensers and have handy trashcans to encourage compliance. The "do" ends up in a landfill instead of the soccer field. And although landfill is not a perfect solution, it does contain the problem of the parasites, bacteria, and nitrogen.
Paper or plastic?
Before plastic bags, dog walkers scooped and wrapped dog feces in newspaper and plunked the package in the trash. Reusing a plastic bag you plan to throw away anyway also makes a good choice. Some bags are 'compost-able." This means they break into smaller pieces. Other bags are biodegradable meaning they will break down to their chemical components (the best approach) after several years.
Most large communities have dog waste removal businesses for those readers who don't "do dog poo." Eco-minded pet communities develop new alternatives. Portland (Oregon) Parks and Recreation is experimenting with a "doggy port-a-potty," in larger dog parks. Contents are disposed and treated at a "dump stations, like the ones used for RV's ensure safe waste treatment.
Some progressive cities offer commercial composting of plant and animal wastes. If yours does, pet waste can be collected at the curb and composted with your banana peels and coffee grounds. (Note: commercial composting's high temperatures eliminate parasites which home composting does not.)
Suburban dwellers can bury dog feces at least 18 inches deep or use waste digesters. However, be clear that the selected sites need to be far away from streams or springs to avoid mixing into the groundwater. Remember, this controls the build up of parasites, bacteria, and nitrogen in your yard, not just aesthetics.
Dog poop unites people as a universal sticking point. Clean parks and yards keep our water pure and our shoes spotless.
Carol picks up her beloved Doberman Onyx's dog doo from the back yard. She writes about Onyx and other dogs that have graced her life at www.thiswildlife.com.
- Filed Under: Health & Home